The <i>Germania illustrata</i>, Humanist History, and the Christianization of Germany*

David J. Collins, S.J.

in Sacred History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594795
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741494 | DOI:
The Germania illustrata, Humanist History, and the Christianization of Germany*

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Leading German scholars, Renaissance humanists among them, began in the late fifteenth century a sustained effort at investigating a past they could call their own and writing about it in a panegyric way. Although the participants failed to achieve the hoped-for cultural and topographical compendium about Germany from Antiquity to their present day, their efforts, collectively dubbed the Germania illustrata project, mark an important stage in the transition from medieval to modern ways of writing history. Yet modern analysis has often read subsequent developments in scholarly history -writing into the work of these German scholars, most strikingly neglecting the profoundly religious dimension that the humanists and their collaborators admired in the German past. This chapter’s goal is therefore a fresh consideration of the place of religious history in the construction of patriotic identities in early modern Germany, with Bavaria taken as a case study.

Keywords: Germany; Germania illustrate; history-writing; humanist; panegyric; patriotism; religious history; Renaissance

Chapter.  8224 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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